I want to share a different type of content strategy post with you today.
There are plenty of posts out there teaching you how content strategy works, or how to set a killer content strategy for the entire year in just 1 day, or exploring content cadence and volume.
Today, I want to show you how to infuse purpose into your content strategy and the good news is, it is completely compatible with traditional content strategy development.
If you want to be able to connect your day-to-day content creation activities to something bigger, this post is for you.
I’m going to share with you how I do it, including the steps I followed and questions that I had to answer.
Purpose & Pillars
Not surprisingly, having a purpose-driven content strategy starts with defining your purpose. If you find yourself having trouble locating your purpose, it helps to look for things in the world you’d like to change, or thinking deeply about what you believe.
My purpose is to help make the world kinder, safer, and more equitable.
I believe that many things in our world are sub-optimal or outright broken. I believe that in a world consumed by capitalism, many of these problems can be found in the spaces where we work.
Therefore, I believe we need to change a lot of how we relate to our work. I believe that one way I’m able to pursue this, is by building a community around a set of ideas, and providing the tools for meaningful action.
Therefore, I have focused my work and my content on helping people in the following three pillars:
- Unlocking Human Potential
- Living a Purpose-Drive Life
- Becoming Heroic & Lovable Leaders
The intersection points for these topics enable one to become powerful, prepared, clear. I believe those who are powerful, prepared, and clear, are capable of changing the world. I believe that by exploring why we work, how we work, and the impact of our work, we can make meaningful change in both our day-to-day lives, and the future of our society.
If everything works perfectly, I would help every single person in my audience transform into an unstoppable catalyst for change.
These three pillars allow me to talk about my topics with purpose. Whether it’s Brand, Leadership & Culture, Marketing, Sales, Productivity, or Entrepreneurship, each topic is presented through the lenses of these three pillars and the ultimate transformation I’m after.
1. What change do you want to make in the world?
This is your big WHY. It’s the things that are too big for you to actually ever accomplish or finish.
2. What could you help people with, to make that change possible? Pick 3 things.
Try to think of three areas of expertise, that you can focus on to make the change possible. These are your content pillars.
3. If people learned it, what benefits would it bring to them?
Look for the overlaps between each topic. What would that enable someone to be, feel, or accomplish? These are the benefits of your content.
4. If everything worked perfectly, how would it transform your audience?
Imagine your best audience member, who follows every piece of content, who implements every piece of advice. What will they transform into? This is actually the purpose of your content, the grand transformation your content enables.
Lay out these elements in a venn diagram. Hang it in your office.
Form & Function
While many will tell you that a content strategy is “all about the audience,” not only do I disagree, but I would offer that any such assertions are disingenuous, at best.
In most cases, the people who say that sort of thing, are the type of content marketers whose only “purpose” is to make money. So, if their audience are all talking about NFTs, it won’t matter if they are a grocery store or a dog groomer, the content starts to be all about NFTs.
“Have you heard about the newest bored cabbage drop?”
If their audience tend to watch short form videos on TikTok or Instagram, all of a sudden they’re asking the CEO to do the Drake “In My Feelings” Challenge or insisting that the Director of Finance learn a new dance every other week.
Every content creator that has ever lived, is a human being with their own goals and preferences. Likewise, every content consumer that has ever lived, is a human being with their own goals and preferences. Neither is more important than the other. A great content strategy should blend the myriad interests of the content producer with those of the target content consumer.
Pick topics that you are excited about and have a depth of expertise. Choose formats that you are comfortable with and can execute well.
I write, because I like writing and it comes more naturally to me than other content formats. I write about things I know about and have significant interest in exploring and learning more about such as: Brand, Leadership, Culture, Marketing, Sales, Productivity, and Entrepreneurship.
I podcast, because I like talking to interesting people. I don’t bring people onto my show to talk about things I’m not interested in.
You should create a content strategy that you can sustain by selecting topics you truly care about, and formats you can keep up with and enjoy.
The Four Questions
1. What are your goals as a content creator?
Are you trying to sell something? Are you expressing yourself? Are you advancing a cause or movement? Are you trying to find or join a community?
2. What are your areas of expertise?
Stay in your lane. Not because you’re not allowed to venture out, but because sharing what you deeply understand is your best way to provide value and make an impact.
3. What content platforms and formats are you comfortable enough with to commit to?
Creating content consistently can be difficult. Make it easier on yourself by choosing content formats that come easily to you or that you are interested in enough to commit to learning.
4. Audience feedback, either direct suggestions or via analytics
How can you incorporate audience feedback to refine your content strategy?
Feedback & Flexibility
In late 2021, I sent out a request to all of my readers asking for some feedback. Thank you to everyone who responded to my reader poll. It’s quite helpful to know what you want to get out of my content. If you missed the poll and want to still share your thoughts, go here.
Even though reader feedback isn’t going to send me down a path where I start writing about web 3.0, craft beer, or a weekly breakdown of reality TV shows, I am interested in making refinements to my existing content strategy. I think it’s extremely important to be specific about the type of feedback you want from your audience.
Here are the big takeaways…
The top topics were Productivity, Leadership, Growth, and Entrepreneurship. This was then followed by the remaining topics of Marketing, Sales, Brand, and Company Culture. When given the choice between explorations of topics and how to guides, 75% of people chose How To Guides & Frameworks.
So, this year I plan to write more how to guides and share more frameworks, with an emphasis on Productivity, Leadership, Growth, and Entrepreneurship. I’m listening to my audience, but staying in my lane.
In Closing: Jeff Gibbard Content Strategy 2022
This year, I’m going to be talking about leadership…a lot. With The Lovable Leader set to be released on January 25th, I am in full swing sharing concepts from the book.
Leadership will be the central theme of Becoming Superhuman. Look for more blog posts, newsletters and podcasts featuring leadership advice along with tools for growth so you can become superhuman. You can also look for plenty of excerpts from the book being shared on my Twitter and Linkedin.
My podcast Shareable will also be changing format to focus more on Leadership and Brand.
Finally, mark your calendars because on January 25th, I’ll be doing a full day book launch event (9am-5pm EST), and a half day event (12:45pm – 5:00pm EST) planned for the 26th. Both of these events will be live-streamed on Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. I’ll be hosting various guests who will be joining me to share their expertise related to the topics in the book. Drop in for whatever topics interest you.
Full event details coming soon.
As for everything else, there’s a new season of Heroic Council coming up, I’m putting Rogue on hold until I have the time to pay proper attention to it, I shut down my Thematic newsletter on Revue, and I’m planning plenty more guides and premium resources.
Happy New Year! Now go out there and make some content…with purpose.
P.P.S. Don’t miss subscribing to the Becoming Superhuman podcast